English aviator Amy Johnson remembered in Australian auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th December, 2023

Melbourne-based Leski Auctions forthcoming and last sale for 2023 contains a tribute to English pioneering aviator Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia, a feat she completed in 19 days in a Gypsy Moth on May 24, 1930 by landing at Darwin.

Sadly, her life was cut short at age 38 during World War II while transporting Royal Air Force aircraft around the country when she crashed into the River Thames and drowned.

The Stamps, Coins & Banknotes auction, which starts at 12pm on Monday December 18 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale features an archive of Amy Johnson memorabilia (lot 793).

The memorabilia comprises a signed postcard of her standing next to her record-breaking Gypsy Moth, her fur-lined leather flying helmet made by Brisbane’s Pike Brothers, a leather bound and boxed “presentation (album) to Miss Amy Johnson…from the New South Wales Masonic Club..” dated June 9, 1930 with hand-coloured illustrations and tipped-in photographs, a Percy Marks leather ring presentation box (now empty) with gold lettering “TO MISS AMY JOHNSON. FROM THE HULL CITIZENS OF SYDNEY. LONDON TO SYDNEY FLIGHT 1930.”, a two-page printed “thank you” from the Johnson family and a 78rpm record with “Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl” on one side and “A Lone Girl Flyer” on the other.

Other early aviation memorabilia includes a 1919-1920 flight cover vignette carried by legendary South Australian pioneering aviator Ross Smith to Iraq (lot 798 and 799), a Qantas flight cover on the first return delivery flight from Cloncurry to Charleville November 5, 1922 (lot 808) and a cover carried on the 1926 Pacific Islands survey flight by Richard Williams (lot 818).

The highest auction catalogue estimate of $50,000-$60,000 belongs to a One Pound chestnut and bright blue Kangaroo Third Watermark stamp (lot 644), with a block of four (lot 645) estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

An exceptionally rare Two Pound block of six black and rose-coloured Kangaroo stamps (lot 654) is another strong collector attraction with a $40,000-$50,000 estimate.

A 1950 Perth Mint proof George VI penny (lot 110) is one of the leading coins on offer, while an 1889 Jubilee head and a 1900 Veiled head sovereign (lot 327), offered as a pair are worthwhile purchases.

Many of the 1189 lots are in an affordable several hundreds of dollars range – ideal for buyers thinking of starting their own stamp, coin or banknote collection.


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